Request for Information (RFI): Availability of Data and Biological Specimens from NIH-funded Studies of HIV and Non-HIV-Infected Injection Drug Users for Genetic and Epigenetic Analyses

Notice Number: NOT-DA-15-052

Key Dates
Release Date:  March 11, 2015
Response Date: April 10, 2015

Related Announcements
March 19, 2015 - Notice of Correction to NOT-DA-15-052. See Notice NOT-DA-15-055.

Issued by
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) seeks information about the availability of data and biological specimens (such as blood, plasma, isolated cells [PBMCs]) obtained from HIV Infected and non-infected injection drug using (IDU) subjects from studies not funded by NIH and those funded by NIH. This information will be used to determine the feasibility of developing programs for conducting genetic and epigenetic analyses of data on the host-response to HIV and modalities of personalized (precision) medicine for treating HIV infection in IDUs.


Drug addiction is a major factor in driving the AIDS and hepatitis C epidemics.  Globally, an estimated 16 million people inject drugs and 3 million of them are living with HIV. On average one out of every ten new HIV infections is caused by injection drug use; in parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, over 80% of all HIV infections is related to drug use (WHO; Further, up to 90% of HIV infected IDUs may also be infected with hepatitis C.

While a large number of  clinical samples have been collected from  HIV-infected and non-infected drug abusing patients/subjects in NIH-funded projects over the past 30 years, the number and type of basic and clinical information from  biological specimens (blood, plasma, isolated cells such as PBMCs etc.)  is not known.  The earlier successes of the 1200 genome wide association studies (GWAS identifying variants for more than 200 diseases and traits, is frequently dependent on the development of consortia to generate sufficient power to detect gene variants.  Thus, knowledge about the number and type of available data and bio-specimens is needed to make informed decision about the feasibility of developing programs for conducting genetic and epigenetic analysis of injecting drug use, the host-response to HIV, and models of (personalized) precision medicine for treating HIV infection and injection drug use.

Information Requested

NIDA seeks information about the availability of basic and clinical data and the number and type of biological specimens collected from the HIV- and non-HIV-infected IDUs used in NIH-funded studies.  If you have clinical data and bio-specimens from HIV- and Non-infected HIV Injection Drug Users, we request that you provide information about the clinical data and bio-specimens. We request that you provide this information to us by April 10, 2015.  Your comments can include but are not limited to the following examples of the type of information that would be helpful :  1) The principle Investigator and Assistant contact information; 2) patient information: (i) type and number of bio-specimens collected; (ii) HIV and HCV status  (iii) viral load, CD4 count, (iv) clinical assessment including standard blood work-up for metabolic and hepatic panels; and finally (v) treatment status:  antiretroviral regimen used . 

Clinical data about substance abuse might include:  i) onset (early versus late) of drug use, the amount, frequency, pattern (binge or escalated use), type of drug used, route of drug administration, and amount of money spent; (ii) biomarker used to quantity the drug use; iii) DSMIII-R and DSMIV symptoms;  iv) measures of withdrawal severity such as the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) or other measures of withdrawal for other substances;  v) time spent seeking a drug; vi) duration of abstinence; vii) number of quit attempts; viii) other co-morbid psychiatric disorders;  ix) environmental variables; x) instruments used to assess substance use; and xi) the method of sample collection.

Other information that would be helpful is whether the research participants are consented for genetic studies or can be re-contacted to obtain consent, and whether a whole genome association scan has been performed on the research participant.  If a genome wide scan has been performed, please provide the platform used and the where the genotypic and phenotypic data can be located. 

Submitting a Response

All responses must be submitted via email to by April 10, 2015.  Please include the Notice number in the subject line. Response to this RFI is voluntary. Responders are free to address any or all of the categories listed above. The submitted information will be reviewed by the NIH staff.

This request is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government. The NIH does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI or to otherwise pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government's use of such information.

The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission. However, responses to the RFI may be reflected in future funding opportunity announcements. The information provided will be analyzed and may be aggregated in reports. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted.  No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).


Please direct all inquiries to:

Jonathan D. Pollock, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-435-1309